Meditation & Health #23 Contents

Sugary Foods Burden Your Body

A Dharma Teaching by Grandmaster JinBodhi

Compilation by Ning Qi Yuan


Many diseases arise from poor food choices. Our diet has a profound impact on how long we live, on how we feel physically and mentally, and on our appearance. Those who eat healthily tend to enjoy good health and may live longer than those who do not.


Sugar is broadly defined as a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are one of the five primary nutrients our body and mind require to stay healthy. Being sensible about the amount consumed is key. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains provide us with sufficient carbohydrates, which are metabolized by the body as sugar.

Overconsumption of foods rich in sugar may result in a deterioration of memory, analytical skills and reflexes, and may lead to IQ loss and slowing down of the brain.

Undesirable Effects

Almost every organ in our body is affected by sugar intake. One obvious undesirable effect of overconsumption of sugar is obesity. An obese person is vulnerable to fatty liver disease as excess sugars are deposited in the liver as fat. Sugar also causes the skin to age more quickly, and tooth decay to set in. Even more alarmingly, it damages the pancreas, raising the risk of diabetes.

In addition to these effects, sugar has a severe impact on our immunity. A research paper published by the Canadian Cancer Society revealed that excess sugar upsets the endocrine system and causes hormonal imbalance. This may lead to cancer cells replicating and multiplying, especially in cases of breast cancer, colorectal cancer and genitourinary cancers.

Not only does sugar cause one to have trouble thinking clearly, it also contributes to agitation, anxiety, and even panic and rage. Gout can be a result of excess sugar, causing joints to become deformed and swollen. Sugar can also be a culprit behind osteoporosis. Finally, gallstones, headaches and myopia can be due to accumulating an excessive amount of sugar in the body.

We do not need more sugar. Cakes, jams, fruit-flavored yogurt, candies, ice cream, soda, juices, chocolates, and almost all processed foods contain abundant sugar. Fruit also contains sugar. Fruits rich in sugar include tangerines, longans, bananas, red dates, persimmons, and there are many others. The starchy staples such as breads, buns, noodles, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams also cause a spike in blood sugar.

In many Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Zhejiang, refined sugar is added to the dishes during cooking. In the northern cities, dashes of sugar are added to the top layer of fried pancakes. It is easy to consume too much sugar without even realizing it.

Our ancestors expended much of their energy doing farming or other labor-intensive activities. They required high-calorie foods to replenish their energy. Nowadays, most people are in sedentary jobs. They sit at their desks for eight to 10 hours a day. Many people don’t do daily exercise. Consuming high-calorie foods burdens the body.

Healthful Alternatives

The two staples consumed globally are flour and rice, and both cause blood sugar to rise. It is preferable to eat products made from wholegrain flour such as wholegrain bread or wholemeal buns. The outer layer of wholegrain cereal called bran balances the carbohydrates found in flour and aids digestion. Brown rice, unlike white rice, is wholegrain rice and thus is a healthier choice. Buckwheat is also low in carbohydrate content and is a suitable alternative for diabetic patients, and for everyone who is concerned about maintaining excellent health.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, bitter gourds, spring onions, leeks, green peas, cabbages, Chinese lettuces, celeries, beans, and beansprouts are low in sugar. Also, the sugar content in guavas, apples, pears, strawberries, and pomelos is relatively low. Nuts are another low-carb option. Cashew nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, and hazelnuts are sensible food choices.

Energy Bagua Lowers Blood Sugar

When we first started a Bodhi Meditation Center in Myanmar, we discovered that the standard Burmese diet is high in sugar. As a result of this diet, diabetes affects a large percentage of the population. Many Burmese practitioners are seen carrying a small portable device to measure their blood-sugar levels.

We did a survey with a group of new practitioners who started practicing Energy Bagua for the first time in order to analyze the effect of Energy Bagua on blood sugar. Before they started their first practice, participants were asked to measure their blood-sugar level. Everyone taking part in this survey was required to register their name and take a photograph of their blood-sugar measurement. Four hours after they had completed Energy Bagua, they were required to measure their blood-sugar level again. Amazingly, blood-sugar levels reduced by more than half.

We strongly encourage everyone to practice Energy Bagua in a park or at our meditation centers. An hour a day of Energy Bagua can promote good health, longevity, and mental wellbeing.

No Added Sugar

We eat to live, to thrive, and to enjoy life. Sadly, the types of foods and drinks people choose often lead them to a state of disease. Processed food is chemically enhanced and created with an eye on profit, not health. Refined sugar often hides in items such as fruit drinks and fruit teas, which are marketed as health-conscious options but are actually damaging.

I started a “No-Sugar Campaign” among the Bodhi Meditation practitioners in Myanmar. Those who take part refrain from extra sweetness; for example, when drinking tea, no sugar is added, and when drinking coffee, no sugar or milk are added.

Significantly reducing sugar intake is fundamental to improving health. Refrain from consuming sugary drinks and check labels to identify foods with added sugar. At the same time, increase physical activity to balance sugar intake. Small changes can have a dramatic positive impact.


Meditation & Health #23 Contents